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News

LA council votes to delay community center update

LA council votes to delay community center update


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council voted to delay adoption of a community center conceptual design plan last week. The plan includes elements from a design charette held earlier this fall, left.

The Los Altos City Council last...

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Schools

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
During a Science is Learning geology lesson, Theuerkauf Elementary School students learn about igneous rocks by observing how sugar changes form when heated.

Hundreds of local elementary students perform experiments w...

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Community

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
PYT’s “Oklahoma!” features, from left, David Peters of Mountain View, Jenna Levere of Los Altos and Kai Wessel of Mountain View.

Time is running out to catch Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Oklahoma!”...

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Sports

Eagles advance

Eagles advance


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Carmen Annevelink, left, and Kristen Liu put up a block against Mountain View. Annevelink totaled 20 kills.

Mountain View High’s out-of-the-gate energy could last for only so long against rival and he...

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Comment

Coping with addictions: Haugh About That?

Preparing to deal with my lifelong addiction, I stood in front of the mirror ready to confess the shame I’d been hiding. The first step to healing, I reminded myself, is to admit something is wrong.

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Special Sections

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
Hangar One, pictured here last January, will be restored under an agreement between Google and NASA.

NASA and Google Inc. forged an agreement last week that allows Google to lease a portion of NASA’s historic Moffett Fede...

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Business

State Street science center closing Nov. 30

State Street science center closing Nov. 30


Ellie Van Houtte/
Helix at 316 State St. is closing after the completion of a one-year grant from Passerelle Investment Co. The science center became a popular destination because of its various exhibits. Town Crier

A popular downtown destination...

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Books

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree


Author Tiffany Papageorge is scheduled to sign copies of new her book 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Linden Tree Books, 265 State St., Los Altos.

Papageorge’s “My Yellow Balloon” (Minoan Moon, 2014) is a Mom’s Choice “Gold” winner. In the book, the Los Gat...

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People

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

January 11, 1939 – November 6, 2014
Resident of Mountain View

James Windell Smith, a 40 year resident of Los Altos, passed away from complications after a post-surgery stroke November 6th, 2014 in Los Gatos, California.

Born on January 11, 1939 on...

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Travel

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine


Eren Göknar/ Special to the Town Crier
While many day-trippers may think that Sonoma is all about the grapes, the region boasts other delights. Try a biplane ride over the patchwork landscape.

Sonoma, a scenic two-hour drive from Los Altos, boa...

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Stepping Out

LA Stage Company opens 'Fairway'

The Los Altos Stage Company production of Ken Ludwig’s new comedy “The Fox on the Fairway” is slated to run Thursday through Dec. 14 at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

A tribute to the English farces of the 1930s and 1940s, “Fox” is a romp that p...

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Spiritual Life

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am


The Beth Am Women have scheduled “A Conversation with Author Maggie Anton” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills.

Anton, winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, will discu...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Natives soak up watered gardens

Photo Arvind Kumar/Special To The Town Crier Hummingbirds enjoy the magenta flowers of hummingbird sage, which releases an enjoyable fragrance when touched.

 

California native plants can thrive poolside or pondside, next to a vegetable garden, in range of lawn sprinklers, in a rain garden, covering the ground near fruit trees, in a flower border that gets regular water or under a birdbath.

The best choices are plants that come from riparian, or streamside, areas, though some common natives tolerate a surprisingly large range of conditions. For a small garden, use barriers or containers to keep some of these plants in check.

With regular water, certain otherwise well-behaved natives expand their territory. If you already grow these plants in drought-tolerant conditions, don’t start watering them unless you want to propagate them.

Yarrow, for instance, takes full to part sun, tolerates drought, yet also does well – and spreads faster – where it gets regular water. Its creeping stems create a good ground cover, kept low if you snip the flowering stems.

I leave the flowers to attract beneficial insects to my vegetable garden, where yarrow mingles with low-growing light-pink- or purple-flowered seaside daisy and fragrant-leaved yerba buena in different areas alongside vegetables and berries.

Hummingbird sage is similarly adaptable. One of my plants has filled a large pot and cascades over the edges. Another one has gradually filled a garden bed. I enjoy the fragrance of the leaves, released when I touch them, and the hummingbirds enjoy the magenta flowers. As a bonus, if the plant spreads where you don’t want it, you can harvest its leaves and dry them for a delicious tea.

For the back of an informal border or the edge of a natural pond, add bursts of yellow in late summer to fall with western goldenrod. It will bloom more with more sun, and it needs to be contained if it gets regular water in a small garden. Goldenrod makes a good border for an edible garden because it attracts beneficial insects.

Brighten a shady or part-sun corner that gets some moisture with the red flowers of western columbine. Hummingbirds will find them! Left to go to seed, goldfinches will feed on them. Scarlet or red monkeyflower and yellow-eyed grass also add spots of vibrant color to moist areas.

On a larger scale, willows are the archetypal streamside vegetation. For a boggy or poorly draining spot, try a small willow, such as the shrubby Del Norte willow. Western spicebush, red-twig and brown-twig dogwood, fragrant thicket-forming native roses, western mock orange and fragrant western azalea also thrive with some water and provide food, forage and shelter for insects and wildlife. Golden currant is particularly picturesque with its flower-packed branches arching over a streambank.

For a pond itself, stream orchid is easy and needs consistent moisture to bloom. Its flowers have muted hues of yellow, brown and purple. Keep it in a pot to control spreading and so that you can move it when it goes dormant from fall to early winter.

Often used in modern landscapes for its architectural form, horsetail can grow in standing water but can colonize drier areas of the garden as well. I grow horsetail in a container, and I still need to weed around it periodically to keep it from spreading.

 

Tanya Kucak gardens organically. E-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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